NEW YORK – Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie and Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending Dec. 20.
FIRST STAR – SEMYON VARLAMOV, G, COLORADO AVALANCHE
Varlamov went 3-0-0 with a 0.67 goals-against average, .981 save percentage and one shutout to help the Avalanche (17-16-1, 35 points) extend their winning streak to five games, their longest such run since March 25 – April 5, 2014 (6-0-0). He stopped all 29 shots he faced, including 20 over the final two periods, to earn his 19th career shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Dec. 15. Varlamov then allowed one goal in each of his next two starts, making 33 saves in a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders Dec. 17 and 39 saves in a 5-1 triumph over the Edmonton Oilers Dec. 19. The 27-year-old Samara, Russia, native has won six consecutive decisions, equaling a career high last achieved March 4-19, and boasts a 12-8-1 record in 22 total outings this season (2.45 GAA, .921 SV%, 1 SO).
SECOND STAR – T.J. OSHIE, RW, WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Oshie paced the NHL with five goals and shared the League lead with eight points as the Capitals (24-6-2, 50 points) won all four of their games to move into first place in the overall standings. He opened the week with 2-1—3 in a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins Dec. 14. After being held off the scoresheet in a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators Dec. 16, Oshie responded with 2-2—4 – his third career four-point game and first since Jan. 3 at SJS (3-1—4 w/ STL) – in a 5-3 comeback victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Dec. 18. He finished the week with one goal in a 7-3 triumph over the New York Rangers Dec. 20, the team's second consecutive multi-goal comeback win. The 28-year-old Everett, Wash., native has 13-9—22 in 32 games this season, his first with the Capitals.
THIRD STAR – MIKKO KOIVU, C, MINNESOTA WILD
Koivu tied for first in the NHL with 3-5—8 in three games to lift the Wild (17-8-6, 40 points) to a pair of wins. He started the week with 1-3—4 – his third career three-point performance and first since Jan. 2, 2011 vs. PHX (0-4—4) – in a 6-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks Dec. 15. Koivu followed that with 2-1—3 in a 5-2 triumph over the New York Rangers Dec. 17 before collecting one assist in a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators Dec. 19, ending the team's season-high point streak at nine games (6-0-3). The 32-year-old Turku, Finland, native leads the Wild with 8-21—29 in 31 contests this season, his seventh as the club's captain.